Category Archives: Christmas

SPARKLEMAS 8: My first festive VLOG!

It’s been flippin’ ages since I last vlogged – apologies! But I’m making up for it with some extra-special Christmassy vlogs for #24DaysofSparklemas…

24 Days of Sparklemas logo

Here is the first one – a very festive vlog with twinkly lights, hot chocolate, tinsel, a little bit of singing and even some REAL SNOW! I have the very rare gift of having this December off: my festive e-novella Christmas in St Ives is already out and sparkling away on virtual bookshelves and all the edits and proofreading on my next novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea have been done months ahead of its June publication date. So, I’ve been making the most of it by having lots of fun with Bob and Flo – and this vlog shows you what we’ve been up to, including our annual family Christmas light safari where we go hunting for as many twinkly lights as we can find…

Do you have a question you’d like me to answer in the next Sparklemas Vlog? Leave a comment below this post, or tweet me @wurdsmyth, or leave a comment on my Instagram page or Facebook author page (click the links to take you there).

So grab a hot chocolate, sprinkle on an extra handful of marshmallows (go on, you deserve it!) and enjoy this little four-minute slice of Wurdy festiveness! xx

SPARKLEMAS 7: Meet St Ives!

Meet ST IVES – the real star of Christmas in St Ives and Somewhere Beyond the Sea. Quite simply, I’m in love with this place – and Cornwall in general. St Ives is a special location for me, Bob and Flo and our families. I love everything about it and have visited in every season. From its beaches to its quaint winding streets and hidden treasures, St Ives is unique and I knew I wanted to set a book there.

Here are my five favourite bits of beautiful St Ives:

Porthmeor Beach

St Ives 9

Breathtakingly beautiful – I wrote several scenes of Somewhere Beyond the Sea sitting on Porthmeor Beach. My favourite beach and always feels like coming home.

 

St Ives 13

Porthmeor Beach is Bob and Flo’s favourite for sandcastles and races to the sea.

St Ives Harbour

St Ives 10

Looking from the town towards Downalong. I never get tired of this view.

St Ives 11

Looking towards the town – you can see St Ia’s church on the right.

St Ives 12

Harbour Beach is Flo’s favourite to dig when she has a new spade for her holiday!

The Island

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I took this on my birthday in January. The perfect sunset to end a perfect Porthmeor day.

St Ives 6

You can just see my lovely Mum-in-law sneaking out of the photo on the left!

Fore Street

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Looking down Fore Street towards St Ives Bakery and the approach to the Post Office.

Fore Street 3

Looking up Fore Street’s cobbles towards the Baptist Church and the Poppy Treffry shop

Fore Street 2

Cyril Noall Square is the inspiration for the courtyard where Seren’s dad’s gallery MacArthur’s is located.

Fore Street 1

This sign outside a shop in Fore Street inspired Seren’s dad, Mark MacArthur’s, theory of life.

Porthgwidden Beach

Bob beach heart

On our anniversary last year, Bob got up early to write this message on Porthgwidden Beach – aww! I chose Porthgwidden for Aggie’s coffee hut because of this.

Bob's Anniversary Heart

The lovely shell and seaweed heart Bob made for me on Porthgwidden Beach. This inspired the seaglass stars you’ll read about in Somewhere Beyond the Sea!

Find your own adventure in Cornwall: go to www.visitcornwall.com for lots of lovely ideas and places to visit right across the county, or if you fancy staying for a while, www.aspects-holidays.co.uk have a fab range of cottages, apartments and holiday homes to choose from.

Come back tomorrow for another 24 DAYS OF SPARKLEMAS exclusive… Every day between now and Christmas Eve I’ll be sharing all kinds of sparkly goodies. Don’t miss a present from me this December! xx

 

SPARKLEMAS 6: Meet Tom Keller

Meet TOM KELLER – the new Aussie teacher who is volunteered by the Head of St Piran’s primary school to help Cerrie with her beloved Christmas play. He’s admittedly gorgeous and an instant hit with her colleagues, but is there more to him than it seems?

Tom appears at a time when Cerrie is feeling most vulnerable: it’s the first staff meeting at St Piran’s School since her very public break-up with her ex (and Deputy Head of the school) David, and everyone is watching them to see how they react to each other. In a surprise move, Gloria Masters the Head introduces Tom and completely upstages Cerrie’s former flame. But Cerrie’s relief is short-lived when Gloria announces Tom will help Cerrie with the play.

I loved writing Tom because he begins as a bit of an enigma and I liked the slow reveal of his personality, as seen through the effect he has on everyone else. He was also a bit of a surprise: I wrote Somewhere Beyond the Sea before Christmas in St Ives and in the original draft of the novel Cerrie was married and we never heard about her home life. When I decided to focus on her story in Christmas in St Ives, I wanted to give her a love story of her own. I was as surprised as Cerrie and her school colleagues when Tom Keller appeared! I then went back to Somewhere Beyond the Sea and rewrote Cerrie’s scenes to fit the story, which made her a much stronger character. I love it when serendipities like that happen in my writing!

Here’s an excerpt from Christmas in St Ives – this is the first time Cerrie and Tom lead a rehearsal together and Cerrie has just asked him to play the music she’s written for the play:

CSI St Ives - EXCERPT - TOMMy dream actor to play Tom Keller in the film of Christmas in St Ives and Somewhere Beyond the Sea (because dreaming it makes it happen, doesn’t it?!) is the very gorgeous CHRIS HEMSWORTH – most well-known for playing Thor in the Marvel Avengers films.

Chris Hemsworth

CHRIS HEMSWORTH as TOM KELLER (Photo: GQ.com)

Come back tomorrow for another 24 DAYS OF SPARKLEMAS exclusive… Every day between now and Christmas Eve I’ll be sharing all kinds of sparkly goodies. Don’t miss a present from me this December! xx

WURDYWATCH – Christmas movies!

Everybody has their favourite Christmas film. You know the ones: the moment the opening titles appear you’re there – the Christmas feeling and the snow and the feel-good factor guaranteed. I love the big-hitters – The Muppet Christmas CarolWhite ChristmasElf… 

But there is another kind of Christmas movie that’s become my slight obsession (sorry, Bob). I’m talking the made-for-TV, preposterously festive variety. And this year, I’m making it my mission to watch one every day until Christmas.

So here is WURDYWATCH – my odyssey into the always snowy, small-town-cutesy, irrepressibly romantic world of TV Christmas movies!

WurdyWatch Christmas Movies logo

WURDYWATCH starts here, folks!

Before we begin, let me say that my love for these films burns bright. I’m not out to criticise them or mock anyone who, like me, finds them irresistible. I love these movies for their unashamedly festive approach, their innocence, and their inherent belief that everyone is capable of goodness deep down, and that Christmas can bring magic into our lives. Yes, the acting may be hilarious at times, the scripts may contain gems that will have you chuckling long after the end credits roll and the plots might be as flimsy as Christmas wrapping paper, but there’s always magic, positivity and moments of uplifting loveliness. Personally, I think we need more of that in our lives.

So, my first WURDYWATCH treat is Angel of Christmas (Hallmark Movies 2015)

CAST: SusanJennifer Finnigan, BradyJonathan Scarfe
Director: Ron Oliver
Writer: Gary Goldstein
Setting: New York

Where to begin? Well, it’s the story of Susan, a newspaper copy-editor who longs to be a proper writer. She hates Christmas (we find out why later) but is challenged by her editor to find her a ‘magical, authentic, personal, emotional holiday story’ that will be the lead article on the Christmas Day edition of the newspaper. She’s given 3,000 words (probably half the newspaper, but hey, details schmetails) and a laptop that only types in 14 point (really big letters) and sent off to fulfil her dream.

On the way she meets hunky painter Brady (who we never see painting but always has an adorable blob of paint on his brow, even at a gallery launch). He’s a free spirit, happy to live in the present – the polar opposite to Susan, who is career-led, driven and ambitious. They strike up a friendship after a couple of chance meetings and when Susan tells him about the story she has to write, he volunteers to be her ‘Christmas coach’, schooling her in all things emotional, sparkly and festive…

You see? You’re hooked already, aren’t you? Well, hold onto your picture-perfect bobble hats, lovelies, it gets better…

Susan tells her Christmas-loving (and wise) parents about her mission and they give her quite possibly the scariest looking wooden Christmas angel you’ve ever seen. Honestly, this thing would give you nightmares. Behold:

Angel of Christmas angel

ARGH! That aside, there is a lovely, true – and mysterious – family story attached to the angel. (A story! Just what Susan needs!) In the 1920s, Susan’s great-grandfather moved to New York from a small town and fell in love with an actress. He promised her he would return in a year to prove his love and planned to propose to her. A talented woodworker, he made a Christmas angel in the image of his true love – the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen (aww!). But when he proposed to her, she turned him down, sending him back to the small town where he then met Susan’s great-grandmother when he tried to donate the angel to the local church. The story is that the angel is then responsible for every couple in her family meeting and falling in love.

Hence two unshakeable laws about TV Christmas movies:

1. FAMILY MATTERS – reconnecting with family, gaining wisdom from them and following long-held traditions are all important messages. There is nearly always a wise family member – Wise Mom, Wise Dad, Wise Grandpa-who-looks-suspiciously-like-Santa – who utters a key line from the movie. So here, Wise Mom and Wise Dad give the angel to Susan and say: ‘This little angel brings people together.”

2. WOOD WINS – in most TV Christmas movies, something made of wood proves to be key to solving a mystery/resolving a dispute/bringing people together. In this case, the whopping great, slightly scary Christmas angel that Susan carries with her everywhere (it must weigh a ton!), but also a wooden log cabin and an old wooden writing desk (no spoilers, you’ll have to watch it to find out why these are vital to the story!)

So Susan sets out to discover who the actress was that inspired her family’s heirloom…

Of course, Brady gets involved (adorable paint-splats and all) and the scene is set for a burgeoning romance. But – but! – there’s also a possible challenger for Susan’s affections! The dastardly Derek (played by the exquisitely named Tahmoh Penikett) is a hot-shot reporter at the newspaper and is everything Susan believes she is (and everything free-spirited, adorably paint-splattered Brady isn’t…) He hates Christmas! He has goals! He wears a suit! As Susan ponders the Christmas angel’s power to find her true love, could Dastardly Derek be The One after all?

I won’t spoil it for you by telling you if Painting-Not-Painting Brady or Boo-some Cad Derek wins Susan’s affections, but what I will say is that this film ticks so many boxes in the perfect Christmas movie list. Cute skating scene where they almost kiss? Tick! Christmas tree shopping? Tick! New York in the snow, carol-singing, the Rockerfeller ice rink and Christmas tree? Tick, tick, tick! Susan and Brady also discover their families share a strange Christmas tradition – the Christmas tree is always outside (“..so it can look up to see God…”) Is this a sign? I’ll let you find out!

There are surprise gifts, a twist I honestly didn’t see coming and Susan’s emotional journey which at moments is genuinely touching. And there’s snow, happy families, love and, of course, a little bit of Christmas magic on a Christmas Eve finale.

For the first movie of WURDYWATCH, this one’s a belter!

More coming soon – and if you liked this one, please leave a comment below or tweet me @wurdsmyth on Twitter. Happy Holidays! xx